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 By Paul Murphy

Thailand launch plan to target qualification for the 2026 World Cup

Thailand coach Kiatisuk Senamuang
Thailand are the top team in Southeast Asia with Kiatisuk Senamuang at the helm.

Four months before the start of their AFF Suzuki Cup defence, Thailand have laid out bold plans for a youth development system that they hope will help future War Elephants qualify for the 2026 World Cup.

August will see the implementation of national youth leagues at U13, U15, U17 and U19 levels and the stated goal is "The World Cup for Thailand starts here!"

The country's ongoing bid to reach Russia 2018 resumes in September when they face Saudi Arabia and Japan in the final qualifying round....

 By Paul Murphy

Former Newcastle United striker Xisco signs with Muang Thong in Thailand

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson discuss the rumours that Mario Balotelli may be moving to the Chinese Super League.
ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson discuss ex-Liverpool forward Florent Sinama Pongolle's future with Chainat of the Thai Premier League.

Former Newcastle United striker Xisco has signed with Thai club Muang Thong United as they look for the firepower to help them clinch the Premier League of Thailand (PLT) title for the first time since 2012.

The move was confirmed on the club's social media pages ahead of Saturday evening's game at home to Navy FC. If fit, he may make his debut in the big match against reigning champions Buriram United on July 24.

He's the second ex-Premier League forward to relocate to Thailand this month after...

 By Kelvin Leong

Singapore's Izwan Mahbud sees Japan tour as Thailand gauge for Suzuki Cup

Singapore goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud vs. Japan
Izwan kept a clean sheet against the superstars of Japan in an AFC World Cup qualifier last June.

Singapore's upcoming tour of Japan will be a good gauge for the Lions as they step up preparations for November's AFF Suzuki Cup, according to Tampines goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.

Coach V. Sundramoorthy will take his squad to Japan from July 17 to 25 where they will play J-League club Albirex Niigata, a college team made up of Albirex reserves and a local Japanese university side.

Izwan, 25, is no stranger to Japanese football, having gone on a trial with J2 club Matsumoto Yamaga FC last November when...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Sinama Pongolle faces big challenge in Thailand despite scoring debut

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson discuss ex-Liverpool forward Florent Sinama Pongolle's future with Chainat of the Thai Premier League.

The size of the challenge facing former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama Pongolle in Thailand is starting to sink in as the Frenchman reflects on a five-goal hammering suffered by his new club Chainat Hornbill at the weekend.

Sinama Pongolle, 31, did his part by scoring on debut after coming on a second-half substitute at Chonburi in the Premier League of Thailand. But he couldn't prevent a 7-2 defeat that leaves Chainat struggling in the relegation zone.

Chainat are four points from safety in 16th...

 By Paul Murphy

Heberty Fernandes the hero for Ratchaburi in win vs. Muang Thong

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson discuss ex-Liverpool forward Florent Sinama Pongolle's future with Chainat of the Thai Premier League.

Ratchaburi goal machine Heberty Fernandes signed off in style, as his final game in the Premier League of Thailand (PLT) featured a goal in a shocking 3-1 victory over league leaders Muang Thong United.

The Brazilian has netted 75 times in all competitions in just two and a half seasons in Thailand, making him one of the most successful imports in the league's short history. On Saturday, he took advantage of a farewell gift from Muang Thong's national keeper Kawin Thamsatchanan to set the Dragons...